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Happy Mother’s Day! Days like this it’s hard to be across the country from my family – but I feel better knowing that soon, I’ll be headed home for almost a week.

Today’s Topic: If you couldn’t answer with your job, how would you answer the question, ‘what do you do’?

I’m a daughter, a sister and an aunt. I hope one day to be a mom, but until then, doing the best I can at my other familial roles brings happiness and purpose to my life.

I’m a volunteer and philanthropic contributor who believes that every person has the ability to make the world a better place. You don’t need a ton of time or money to help someone who has less than you do.

I’m a friend and supporter to many people I care about tremendously. I’m thankful every day for the amazing friendships I have made and kept throughout my lifetime, and hope that I provide the same support and comfort in exchange.

I’m a runner/walker/hiker who’s not quite there yet, but really trying. (Also, an amateur chef who is determined to make balanced meals.) I read, write and create whenever possible.

I constantly try to improve myself and my day-to-day life, whether it’s revamping my budget, making new to-do lists or remember to throw away leftovers. Again, I’m quite the work in progress but I believe that every step counts.

I make people smile; I make people laugh. I listen when someone is having a tough day. I remind everyone when Starbucks is offering a special deal (last day for frappuccino happy hour!). I try (sometimes in vain) to get everyone to love technology as much as I do.

And in May, I blog every day. 😉

 

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After spending 17 years in a quiet, suburban Long Island town, life in Athens, Georgia intoxicated me. (And no, that was not meant to reference the probably 100 bars in that one-mile-wide downtown.)

I applied to five colleges, each offering a different landscape, culture and experience. When I narrowed it down to my final two options, Clemson and The University of Georgia, Athens’ downtown was what won me over.

I loved the boutique clothing stores, the independent music shops brimming with used CDs and the darkened venues where I saw Morphine, Jump Little Children and Pavement perform for under $10 each. I loved rooting through the picture frames and t-shirts at Junkman’s Daughter’s Brother and getting 25 cent ice cream at the drugstore off Milledge Ave.

My freshman year, I did not have a car. Pretty much, my entire universe existed within that mile of downtown. The world was comprised of people aged 18-25. There were no “adults” and no kids. We essentially had created a utopia which supported our own needs and desires.

I immediately fell in love with Blue Sky, a little coffee shop downtown, and everything that coffee shop culture had to offer. I didn’t even drink coffee, but I relished having a place to write, to think and to hang out, outside the four walls of my dorm cell. In other words, it had little to nothing to do with the coffee – and everything to do with the experience.

When I moved into my apartment last July, I unpacked boxes of CDs and painstakingly alphabetized them on a bookshelf. I reminisced about rifling through bootleg concert CDs in independent Athens music shops. Again, while I enjoyed the end product (finding a CD to purchase and listen to), I placed a higher value on the experience.

At some point before I graduated and left Athens, a Starbucks cropped up within spitting distance of my beloved Blue Sky. I remember my outrage – how could big business creep into our little indie town, whose only franchised resident was a GAP? Quite simply, who would choose a visit to Starbucks over Blue Sky? I feared this was the beginning of the end. Big business would overtake Athens, and Broad Street would become another suburban highway.

Fast forward ten years – as a City-dweller, I have come to expect a Starbucks on every corner. I am still not a coffee drinker, yet I do adore (and rely on) my iced grande skim caramel macchiatos. I have not deliberately spent time in a coffee shop since I left Athens.

Until the advent of iTunes, I continued to purchase CDs regularly. Post-Athens, all of my business went to big-box stores – the Best Buys and Circuit Cities. Once downloadable music came along, I fell for the immediacy. I could have a song within seconds.

In other words: I traded experiences for convenience.

I became a creature of habit who frequented coffee shops for caffeine – not to seek oasis from my everyday life. I forgot the enjoyment I derived, searching through plastic bins of CDs, to discover songs that I hadn’t already listened to 30-second snippets of. Everything became about the end result and the not the journey to get there.

I often tell myself that one day, I will hop the subway down to St. Mark’s and pay a visit to one of those dark and gritty CD shops. And maybe that same day, for old times sake, I’ll walk by the Starbucks into a random coffee shop and break out my journal.

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